PPBE Topic: cashless society

Lander Meeusen Public Seen by 23

What do you think about the cashless society? What are arguments for / against?


Lander Meeusen Tue 12 Jan

In this (Dutch) article, the main argument against is that it excludes certain groups who don't have access to a bank account or bank card.

A minor argument is that it gives private tech companies and governments more control over an individuals transactions. This data should be private.

A (weak) argument for in the pandemic is hygiene...

I found another article about the Cash Uprising, but haven't read it yet, or the white paper buy the group's founder. https://www.cashmatters.org/blog/swedens-bj%C3%B6rn-eriksson-and-the-cash-uprising-/


Ilja Sat 16 Jan

I haven't thought or looked into this much, but a first knee-jerk reactions I have

  1. We saw in the economic crisis of 2010 what the problems are with "too big to fail" banks. With how I understand the idea of a cashless society, we make their possition even stronger (and if not of the banks, then of big tech companies). Basically we're making the issues we saw then bigger and we'll see the results when the next bubbel pops, when it's too late and we have the same things happen all over again.

  2. It forces a dependency to a third party, which I consider possibly problematic in general. Sometimes third party reliance can be a net positive, but this seems way to important for that.

  3. It means you'll need a specific technology to be able to make transactions between people. This is not so with cash.

I don't immediatly see advantages to it, but that doesn't mean they aren't there of course. On the other hand, if I read the articles you shared, then it seems that a bunch of billionaires (people who generally lost all touch with how reality is for most people, especially people in poverty) claim it helps against poverty, while actual organisations who try to help and be a voice for people in poverty see it as highly problematic... So without more insight into this whole thing, I'm gonna follow those in the field over the billionaires here.


Christophe Cop Fri 12 Mar

I think there will always be a use for cash.
Of course, you can digitize most of the financial transactions.
But just like the internet didn't replace TV or radio or books, it became an additional technology (that took quite some place).
Older technologies always seem remain. Even now, you can find people making the stone tools that were used in the stone age, and still people make spare parts to restore old steam trains... of course, the use may have dwindled and largely replaced, as long as there is use for a technology (old or new) that can not be replaced, the technology will last.

Cash has aspects that can not be replaced.
(Even now: bartering is still done as well)


Lander Meeusen Fri 12 Mar

Analogue TV and radio seem to be disappearing, no? As I understand it, we basically have digital TV and radio on digital appliances. It looks similar, but it it's different. For books, you're right. There are also archeologists that build whole towns using only medieval methods and tools.

The question is: do we want to keep using cash or is a cashless society better?

Arguments for/against...

If we want to keep cash, the consequence is that it has to remain possible and easy to withdraw and use cash.